The Smart Driving App Battle


Guess what? It is not known to many people who follow tech but there is a quiet little battle taking place in the Smart Driving arena.

It is about Automatic vs Dash. Both of these apps take advantage of Bluetooth OBD 2 hardware in your car do give you information about your drive, where you parked, your check engine light, etc…They also give you a driving score based on your habits. Similar to the progressive insurance thing.

Both apps literally do the same thing. With some differences. Automatic requires a proprietary Bluetooth OBD adapter for $99, while Dash can use any generic Bluetooth OBD ranging from $10 to $100.

Another key difference is focus. Automatic recently rolled out iBeacon capability to their units allowing users to theoretically pay for tolls and parking without getting out the car. Kind of cool. Dash seems to be focusing on the social aspect. I call it the gamification of driving. As with Dash you compete against your friends on Twitter, FB, G+, and FourSquare to see who has the best score.

The main difference is Automatic is an iOS first app, while Dash is an Android first app. We all know these new start ups tend to go iOS first so it is refreshing to see an app go Android first, especially when it is going head to head with an iOS first app. It will be interesting to see where this goes. Especially with both companies starting their focus on competing platforms.

I personally have been using the Dash app on my Nexus 5, and it is a very well done app. The whole competition social thing in a way makes you want to drive better, just to edge out that higher score. For those of you who do drive, it is something to try if you got spare cash.